- D.H. Reilly
Fines and Penalties Related to Medical Marijuana in Mississippi
One of the most common things we hear from our patients is that they appreciate how we simplify what can be a stressful process: navigating the complexities of the state’s medical marijuana law.
The Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act (MMCA) is hundreds of pages (and almost 100,000 words!) long, so it’s understandable that so many patients would rather let us guide them through the process of getting their medical card.
But the penalties for violating the MMCA included under the law are just as important to understand as the process of getting a Mississippi marijuana card is.
What Kinds of Fines and Penalties Are Allowed Under the MMCA?
The vast majority of fines and penalties under the MMCA can be divided into three categories: Penalties levied against medical practitioners, cannabis businesses, and medical marijuana patients.
The fines and penalties the law allows to be levied against patients who violate the program’s rules are really just common sense, but it’s better to know about them and avoid them than it is to assume you’ll never accidentally run afoul of them.
The penalties directed at medical practitioners and cannabis businesses are important because they are part of what ensures the safety and efficacy of your medication. It would be useless for the MMCA to include rules to ensure the ethical behavior of your doctor and the quality of your dispensary’s products if there are no consequences for breaking those rules.
Obviously, when it comes to fines one might face for violating the rules of the MMCA, the ones affecting patients are the most relevant to you, so we’ll start there.
Fines and Penalties for Patients Under the MMCA
Patients can be fined up to $1,500 if they (or their designated caregivers, if a patient is unable to notify the Mississippi Department of Health of these issues) fail to provide one of the notices required under the MMCA. Patients must let the MDOH know:
If they move or change their names
If they opt to change registered designated caregivers
If they have lost their Mississippi Marijuana Card (patients also have to pay a $25 replacement fee)
But fees climb steeply above $1,500 for more egregious violations of the MMCA. For example, making a false statement to a law enforcement officer in order to avoid arrest or prosecution for violating the rules of the MMCA could get you hit with a $1,000 fine and ninety days in county jail. A conviction for such an offense would also get you a lifetime ban from the MMCA.
Similarly, “purposely, knowingly, or recklessly sell(ing) or otherwise transfer(ing) medical cannabis” is a felony, punishable by a fine of up to $3,000 and/or a two year prison sentence. Unsurprisingly, someone convicted of this offense is also banned for life from participating in the MMCA.
Selling or trading your legally purchased medical marijuana would technically make you a drug dealer, and the MMCA specifically directs that you be treated as such. Depending on the amount of marijuana or synthetic cannabis you’re caught dealing, you could be looking at up to fifty years in prison and a $100,000 fine.
Bottom line, your doctor prescribed medical marijuana for you, not for anyone else. Use it in good health, or risk losing both the benefits of medical marijuana and your freedom.
Fines and Penalties for Medical Practitioners and Cannabis Businesses Under the MMCA
The MMCA recognizes physicians, certified nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and optometrists as qualified to approve patients for a Mississippi Marijuana card, and it also lays out the following infractions for which they can be fined or imprisoned. As you’ll see, these provisions are designed to protect the quality of service you receive from your providers.
First, a practitioner who shows preferential treatment and purposefully refers patients to specific medical cannabis businesses or designated caregivers can face a fine of up to $5,000. Second, a practitioner “who purposely, knowingly, or recklessly breaches the confidentiality of information” under the MMCA is looking at up to a $1,000 fine and 180 days in county jail.
Like patients, cannabis businesses can be fined up to $1,500 if they fail to provide one of the notices required under the MMCA, but they do have fewer conditions under which they must provide a notice.
Medical marijuana businesses must let the Mississippi Department of Health know within one business day if any cannabis is stolen from them or if there is a change in ownership. It’s part of the state’s seed-to-sale requirements, so that all medical marijuana in the state’s program is accounted for until it’s in your hands. That’s important, because it’s part of the assurance that your medicine is pure and untainted.
Like doctors, cannabis businesses face up to a $1,000 fine and 180 days in county jail if they violate the confidentiality rules of the MMCA.
Fines and penalties for cannabis businesses jump significantly for some offenses. For selling marijuana to someone who is not a Mississippi Marijuana Card holder, a business or its representatives can be found guilty of a felony, fined up to $10,000, and spend up to two years in prison.
Make a false statement to the Department of Health in order to secure a cannabis business license? That offense could land you a $5,000 fine and two years behind bars. And a conviction for either of these offenses would also mean a lifetime ban from the MMCA.
Using unauthorized chemicals to extract compounds like THC from medical marijuana? Now a business is looking at a $10,000 fine and three years in prison.
And like patients, both practitioners and representatives of cannabis businesses cannot lie to law enforcement to escape penalties for violating MMCA rules. Doing so could mean a $1,000 fine, ninety days in jail, and a lifetime ban on program participation.
MMCA Rules Keep Medical Marijuana Safe and Pure
While no one likes onerous government regulations, it’s the penalties under the MMCA that give the program the teeth it needs to ensure the safety and purity of your medicine. Sure, that means some hassle and additional costs, but as we’ve seen, patients say that’s a worthwhile price for keeping medical marijuana safe and untainted.
If you’re ready to find out why people are willing to pay more for medical marijuana, why not let us help you?
Reserve a medical marijuana evaluation online today with one of our compassionate, qualified physicians, and we’ll book an appointment for you just as soon as Mississippi’s medical marijuana market is up and running.
You’ll meet with your new doctor virtually, using your smartphone, tablet, or computer for a telemedicine appointment. From the comfort and safety of your own home, you’ll learn what medical marijuana might do for you and find out if you qualify for a Mississippi Marijuana Card. You’ll even save $25 off the cost of the evaluation!
Doctors Who Care.
Relief You Can Trust.
Helping you find health and wellness through safe and convenient access to medical marijuana is our primary goal at Mississippi Marijuana Card. We’re working hard to educate advocates and cynics alike about the unique benefits medical cannabis can offer, building an accessible informational library of all things Mississippi and medical marijuana in the process.
If you have any questions, we’re ready to answer them. Call us at (833) 781-6635, or simply reserve a medical marijuana evaluation!